Even though the fishing season has come to an end, we have been busy at the river office with various projects coming to completion and planning ahead, so I just wanted up update you on where we are in the month of November 2023.
River Dee Trust Auction
Our annual River Dee Trust Auction is live and the are some amazing places to fish in Scotland, the iconic Grimersta on the Isle of Lewis, the unique River Thurso, the Ythan, the Tay, the Tummel, and further afield on the Tyne and the Tweed and a Pike fishing experience for something different. Some favourite River Dee options at Cambus O’May, Crathes Castle, Commonty, Upper Drum and Altries to name a few. There are some tempting food and drink options and some inspiring art for those non anglers and “buy it now” options from just £15.
Please pop the kettle on or have a Dram and browse – link here - https://uk.givergy.com/RDT2023/
Live now until 5pm on Sunday 19th November, we would really appreciate your support.
We are now at the end of the fishing season, and it will be the worst on record. It’s been a very tough year and no conciliation that it’s been a poor year throughout Scotland. We still have to get a few of the beats statistics in and will report in full in December, but at the moment we have 1678 salmon & grilse reported to the River Office. We will of course use the statistics to rally support from the public and continue to raise concerns with Scottish Government and its agencies.
Stocking Review Follow Up
The Dee Fishery Board and River Dee Trust have now formally launched the 20-year programme of work to restore spring salmon, in partnership with Atlantic Salmon Trust. The programme has been titled ‘Save the Spring’– please see more detail here on our website.
As part of this work, we are now seeking to recruit a Programme Coordinator to ensure quick development of the programme, which includes strategic habitat restoration in the upper catchment combined with conservation translocation methods, and investigations into the marine transition zone for smolts and returning adults. A broodstock licence has been applied for and if a licence is granted, and if funding is obtained, kelts will be collected this year for reconditioning.
The 5.7-metre-high Garlogie Dam, the last complete barrier to fish migration in the Culter catchment, has now been removed following an 8-year project development phase, and 6 weeks to physically remove the structure. The work was led by the Board and Trust with SEPA’s Water Environment Fund providing full funding. This was the biggest dam removal in Scotland to date and had great media coverage on TV and in the press – it is described in the success stories of our website here and here is a time-lapse film of the removal.
The restoration project on the River Clunie, funded through Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund, has now been completed.
The project was featured on BBC’s TV programme Landward on 2nd November, you can access it on the iPlayer here – https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001s2xx/landward-2023-episode-20
Thank you to everyone who has been in touch to enter for the Tor Na Coille Trophy for the best fish on the river in the 2023 season, and to all the ghillies that have encouraged their anglers. We have a good number of entries this year and I will be acknowledging them all by e mail in the next week or so, we will also showcase them in the January newsletter and the winner will be announced at the opening of the River on the 1st February 2023. Entries will be accepted until 31 December 2023.
The Callum Mackenzie Cup is awarded by Ballogie Estate for the most notable fish caught by a young person under the age of 18, we would still welcome entries for this until the 31 December 2023 and details can be found here - http://www.riverdee.org.uk/f/articles/CallumMackenzieCup.pdf
I will doing another news update mid-December, so please keep an eye out for it, we will be updating progress on the “Save the Spring” programme and the dates and venue for the stakeholder event.
If you have any questions, or any news to add for next time then please drop me a note.
Don’t forget to browse the auction!
Tackle Shops and Outfitters on Deesside
Guides and Instructions on the River Dee
Where To Stay on Dee and the surrounding countryside.
Where To Eat on the river Dee.
Fishing Permits for the River Dee.
Get In touch:
Thanks so much for sending me your photos and your stories, as they say around these parts “ Haste ye back to the silvery Dee”
Salmon mortality from catch and release fishing is low, and this is a valuable tool in salmon management. However, catching a fish has many consequences which can have lethal and sub-lethal effects. The key to minimising these effects is to practice good fish handling measures.
The combination of equipment choice, hooking duration, air exposure, and handling time all result in capture stress. The aim of this guidance is to minimise stress.
The direct consequences of taking a fish from water include:
- Gill collapse – Resulting in less oxygen entering the bloodstream which will ultimately end in suffocation.
- Eye strain – Salmon and trout do not have eyelids and so raising them out of water can damage the eye and is also highly stressful.
- Gravity effects – When out of water, the fish’s body and internal organs are no longer supported. Take care to hold the fish horizontally and support the fish so that it doesn’t damage the spine, bones or internal organs. If the fish kicks out of your hands it may be damaged and will certainly be a stressful experience.
- Skin damage – Damage or scale and mucus loss from nets, dry hands, dropping or placing the fish on the bankside could result in an infection and can stop the fish from reproducing.
- Temperature change – There can be a big difference between water and air/skin temperature and a rapid change temperature will cause stress.
Anglers can have an impact on salmon offspring too, as a fish that exhibits high amounts of stress – from handling and/or temperature – may then produce fewer or smaller offspring or have lower egg survival and disease tolerance.
In short, how a fish is caught and handled has a direct effect on its survival and also the next generation. Minimising stress by following best practice will have a real impact on the number and quality of fish emerging the following spring.
Minimising the time fish are removed from their natural environment must be the goal, and there are numerous studies that suggest air-exposure should ideally be limited to under 10 seconds during the whole catch and release procedure.
- Use barbless, circle hooks and a line weight heavy enough to bring the fish in quickly.
- Minimise time played and bring the fish in quickly.
- Use a suitable, knotless net to avoid skin damage.
- Handle the fish as little as possible and only with wet hands.
- Keep the fish in the water as much as possible – Total air exposure during the whole process should be under 10 seconds.
- Photograph fish in the water or lift just for just a few seconds – holding correctly (below the pectoral fins and on the tail wrist).
- Keep the fish in the water facing upstream to help it recover – don’t pump the fish.
- Allow the fish to recover fully before releasing – the fish should be able to maintain an upright position and respond gently touching at the tail.
- Play the fish unnecessarily.
- Place the fish on the bank.
- Take the fish out of the water longer than completely necessary.
- Lift the fish far from the ground (in case you drop it)
- Treat it rough (bear hug, by the gills, by the tail etc.)
Fishing at 18°C and above
The stress effects from handling can be further compounded with increasing temperature. As water temperature increases so too does the fish’s oxygen demand and energy consumption.
Fishing in water temperatures exceeding around 18°C becomes increasingly stressful to the fish and is linked to decreased immune function and increased susceptibility to fungal infections.
Adult Atlantic salmon have increased risk of mortality at around 20°C. When temperature remains above 20°C for 24 hours fish are unable to repair the damage caused by thermal stress and at this point catching has a noticeable negative impact on survival.
Anglers have a direct impact on whether salmon survive thermal stress. If fishing in warm water (18°C or more), risk of mortality from poor handling is much greater.
- Fishing site is appropriate – aerated riffles, rapids.
- Play the fish firmly and avoid a long fight.
- Fish early in the day.
- Do not lift fish out of water at all – choose fishing site so that this is possible.
Keeping the Dee safe from disease, parasites and non-native invasive species is vital for the wellbeing of the river, the fish populations and other wildlife it supports. One of the key tools with which the Board protects the river and its stock of Atlantic salmon and sea trout is the control and management of Biosecurity.
What is Biosecurity?
Biosecurity is most commonly considered to be a series of measures aimed at preventing the introduction and or spread of animals, plants, pests and diseases and parasites, including non-native species.
Inadvertent introductions of animals, plants, pests and diseases and parasites can go unnoticed until the point that treatment is no longer an option. Therefore, the prevention of introduction is the most effective way to protect our river.
Simple techniques which anyone can employ, such as checking equipment for any plant materials or animals, cleaning or disinfecting equipment and clothing, and simply allowing clothing and equipment to dry out can all be considered biosecurity measures.
What’s at risk?
The River Dee is renowned as being one of the best fishing destinations in the world and we want to protect our river and fish stocks. It is vital that our biosecurity measures are consistent with the rapidly evolving environment within which we live, to reduce the risk to the Dee and its fish stocks.
We need biosecurity to become a routine part of the Dee experience and we need your support to do this. Anglers and ‘other river users’ on the River Dee must consider biosecurity the next time they are using equipment or clothing that has been used elsewhere other than the Dee and not been cleaned, disinfected or dried.
What can you do?
The best information how to practice biosecurity measures will come from your ghillie, if that doesn’t apply then please follow the Check Clean Dry Campaign and Stop the Spread.
You can also get your kit disinfected at one of two biosecurity stations on the Dee. Use these links for Google Maps directions:
TwinPeakes Flyfishing at Milton of Crathes
The River Office, Mill of Dinnet
We also have facilities at the River Office to clean other river users’ equipment such as canoes and paddleboards.
Thank you in advance for helping to protect the Dee and our fish stocks.
For more information please e mail [email protected] or contact the river office.